PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — The Triumph Gulf Coast Board is moving forward with several grants for Bay County institutions, as decided at their meeting on Thursday. All of the approved grant applications total more than $10 million.
PORT PANAMA CITY
One of those is for Port Panama City, which is set to receive $3 million for improvements to their Intermodal Distribution Center.
That includes an extension of Commerce Boulevard to provide more access to industrial sites, as well as construction of storm-water ponds and improvements to 45 acres of industrial property on site.
Port Panama City’s Executive Director, Wayne Stubbs, said on Thursday that the funding from Triumph and other community partners will go a long way in bringing more economic diversity and industry to the area.
“It’s finally getting traction out there and it’s producing jobs, and it’s producing opportunities to the EDA to market this area to industries,” Stubbs said. “The extra three million dollars of support from Triumph is really timely.”
He said he hopes construction can begin at the start of next year.
AMIkids PANAMA CITY MARINE INSTITUTE
Another grant moving to the next steps is for AMIkids Panama City Marine Institute.
The facility is set to receive $1.7 million dollars from Triumph to fund new training programs for students.
Those programs include manned and unmanned drone programs as well as construction instruction for students, helping them earn industry certifications to work in and out of the community.
The news comes as PCMI is also working to become a charter school within Bay District Schools to provide a unique educational experience for students interested in maritime careers.
“It’s going to enable us to start off on the very first year teaching the full array of high-tech courses for the students,” said Ron Boyce, PCMI’s Executive Director. “So instead of waiting for the number of students to build up high enough to afford the teachers, we can start off with the teachers right off the bat.”
Boyce said he feels confident and hopeful about the charter application being approved, and hopes to begin hiring instructors next spring.
GULF COAST STATE COLLEGE
Gulf Coast State College’s grant application for $5 million was also approved, to help fund manned and unmanned systems equipment for the college to use to train students in emergency operations information gathering and training.